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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Next Year I'll Be Perfect by Laura Kilmartin (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Laura Kilmartin, author of Next Year I'll Be Perfect!

Author Guest Post

Casting Next Year I'll Be Perfect

Two of my favorite things in the world are movies and books. So, of course, the thought of casting actors to play the characters for my own novel, Next Year I'll Be Perfect, is pretty much a dream assignment.

When I wrote my book I had a general sense of what I thought the characters looked like, but none of them were created with specific actors in mind. That turned out to be a good thing because it took me a long time to finish writing, so any actors I had in mind would probably no longer be age-appropriate at this point, anyway!

For those of you who haven’t read the novel, it centers around Sarah Bennett who – on her 29th birthday – realizes how far she is from her life goals and sets out to make her life perfect before she hits 30. She is aided and abetted in this venture by a tight group of family and friends. I hope people who have read the book bear with me if my casting differs from what you might have expected – or even from what I may have described in the book. As I said, I didn’t write the characters with actors in mind, so there is no perfect person that is going to be spot-on and fit the pictures people have created in their heads.

I think the actors I chose would be able to capture the essence – if not always the specific physical descriptions – of the characters I created and would love to hear other thoughts and opinions.

Sarah Bennett (Kat Dennings)

Best known for her role on Two Broke Girls, Kat Dennings pretty much proves my point that I didn’t have any particular actresses in mind when writing my book because I didn’t even know who this woman was until a few years ago. Recently, though, a friend pointed out that Kat would make a great Sarah and I couldn’t agree more. Sarah is funny, smart and driven but still has a paralyzing vulnerability and lack of confidence that I think this actress could capture perfectly.

Olivia DeMarco (Eliza Coupe)

Eliza Coupe plays Jane on the TV show Happy Endings. If you haven’t seen this show, you’ve got to check it out. I first saw it when I was channel surfing and saw Eliza in a scene with the actor who plays her husband on the show. I remember thinking, “Damn, that guy looks just like a young Damon Wayans.” I found out later that the actor’s name is Damon Wayans, Jr.

But I digress…

This casting is one where I didn’t go strictly by the physical description in my book because my Olivia is short while Eliza Coupe looks like she is fairly tall. That said, this actress strikes me as the kind of woman who could walk into a bar and be handed a drink by a waiter without even having to order. I think Eliza would be very successful as the cool, confident, uber-loyal Olivia.

Morgan Donovan (Bradley James)

I struggled over Morgan’s casting the most because I couldn’t find one actor that pulled together everything I wanted to see in this character. I finally resorted to Googling phrases like “30ish blonde actors,” when a picture of Bradley James popped up in my browser and I immediately realized that I’d found my Morgan. 

And I was more than a little annoyed that I hadn’t thought of him myself.

Bradley James plays King Arthur in the BBC Series, Merlin which I’ve followed since the first episode. Not only would he make a perfect Morgan – funny, smart, kind and more than a little skittish – but, in the picture above I think he does look like a dashing young Illya Kuryakin as Sarah and Gloria described.

David Thornton (David Boreanaz)

Depending on your age and preference for supernatural v. procedural TV shows, you will know David Boreanaz either as Angel or Booth. Either way, I think he would make a great David because in addition to sharing the name of this character, he also shares a solid, commanding presence that masks a deeper warmth and sensitivity. At least in my head that’s true.

Jeremy Thorton and Gloria Daniels (Fred Ward and Jamie Lee Curtis)

Jeremy is a role that could probably be played by a number of actors in their 60s who have that combination of strength and kindness that I find in Fred Ward. Fred has something extra, though, and I’d love to tell you what it is, but I can’t. Much like with Bradley James, I was Googling around for the right actor and when I was the picture above, I just stopped and knew I’d found Uncle Jeremy.

Gloria was a tougher role to cast until a friend of mine suggested Mark Harmon for the role of Jeremy. While I absolutely love Mark Harmon, he didn’t strike me as right for Uncle Jeremy. Perhaps too much kindness and not enough gruff? In any event, thinking of Mark Harmon made me think of his frequent co-star Jamie Lee Curtis, and I could not have conjured up a better Gloria. She can carry herself as being the smartest person in the room – and she knows it – but has a charm and brightness about her that just draws you in. 

Frank Murphy (Rick Hoffman)

Shortly after Homocide: Life on the Streets went off the air, Kyle Secor went on to a short-lived TV show called Philly. Why is this important, you ask? Well, first you need to know that I would watch Kyle Secor read the phone book, so I tuned in. The second thing you need to know is that while Kyle was fabulous as expected (on a less than fabulous show), there was a supporting character played by Rick Hoffman who stole the scene from every actor he worked with – including Kyle. That was the first time I saw Rick Hoffman and I’ve kept an eye out for everything he’s done since including his current role on Suits. Rick is definitely a little younger than I pictured Frank, but I can also see him pull off the unfeeling tough-guy exterior with the secret marshmallow center that only Sarah and Gloria know exist.

Eddie Thornton (Chris Hemsworth)

Out of all my picks, I’m assuming that Chris Hemsworth would probably be the toughest to nab for a role in the movie version of my book.

You know… cause he’s Thor and all…

There is something about Chris that makes me think he can pull off the role of the creative wanderer who loves his family, but has a deep passion for travel and adventure. Plus, he has long blonde hair and would look great with a tan.

Thank you so much Kathleen for the opportunity to guest post on your blog! It has been great fun to cast my book! I’d love to hear whether people like my choices or if they have some other great actors I didn’t think of.

About The Author

Next Year I'll Be Perfect is Laura Kilmartin's first novel. She previously published four essays in Write for the Fight: A Collection of Seasonal Essays. All author royalties from that collection have been donated to breast cancer charities. Laura is an attorney who lives and works in her native Southern Maine. A pop culture savant, she loves to read, write, travel and collect DVDs of cancelled TV shows in her spare time.

Laura Kilmartin ~ Next Year I'll Be Perfect ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Book Review

Next Year I'll Be Perfect by Laura Kilmartin
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Format: Paperback - 216 pages / Kindle - 455 KB / Nook - 944 KB
ISBN: 1935961721
ASIN: B009H695TA
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Chick Lit / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Next Year I'll Be Perfect

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Sarah always thought her life was on track, that is until her 29th birthday party. The discovery of a list her younger self put together outlining what she wanted to achieve by the age of 30 turns Sarah’s world upside down. Suddenly her seemingly happy life and career look lackluster and Sarah sets off on a journey to transform her life. On her quest to achieve perfection one month at a time – a happy marriage, partnership in a law firm and being able to fit in a size six purple suede miniskirt – Sarah learns to challenge society’s ideals of achievement. Filled with harsh reality, humor, and romance, Next Year I'll Be Perfect explores what true happiness and success is all about.

Book Excerpt:

The drive back to my house was not the silent trip to the restaurant we’d experienced a few hours earlier with each of us sitting rigidly in our own space. During the return trip, we wrestled with the demands placed on adult children in the modern family structure, all the while my hand was held gently in Morgan’s, rested on the side of the passenger seat.

Even I had to admit that this date was kicking ass.

My euphoria lasted approximately another twelve seconds before we were parked in front of the diner and I was back in panic mode. It had been a very long time since I’d been on a first date with a man – and much longer still with a man I really liked. I was no longer clear about the direction the rest of the evening should take. 

Namely, should I invite Morgan up to my apartment? What would that mean? What would he think it meant? I considered every exponential possibility of asking the man beside me upstairs, and as I did so, I also watched the hopeful light in Morgan’s eyes dim.

Had I missed my window of opportunity?

Did Morgan assume I didn’t want to continue our date in a more intimate setting, while the truth was that it was exactly what I wanted? I dithered around in my head trying to figure out what Morgan would read into such an invitation and whether it was too early to go there.

Screw it.

I was twenty-nine years old and no blushing virgin. Remembering David’s words from earlier in the evening, I decided to be the strong, independent, decisive woman Morgan had originally pursued.

“So, Morgan,” I leaned in and asked. “Are you interested in a relationship?”

He leaned back, startled and made a gurgling sound in his throat that could have been interpreted as, "Huh?"

“Are you interested in a relationship?” I repeated. “With me. Do you want me to be your girlfriend?”

I saw and felt Morgan go from mildly disappointed at not receiving an invitation upstairs, to a man in the throes of blind panic. I put my hand lightly on his shoulder and his entire body went rigid at my touch.

And not in the good way.

David’s advice was abruptly pushed out of my head and instead I heard Livvie’s voice screaming, “Abort! Abort! Abort!”

My Book Review:

Sarah Bennett has just turned twenty-nine when her best friend Livvie gives her a letter from the past that will send Sarah on a twelve month journey to transform everything in her life before her thirtieth birthday. The letter that Livvie gave Sarah was one that Sarah had written four years earlier on her twenty-fifth birthday. The letter contained a naive and optimistic list of goals that she wanted to accomplish by her thirtieth birthday. Looking at the list, Sarah realizes that she has only accomplished 2 of the original 8 goals, so she decides to realistically modify the list, and over the next twelve months change everything in her life, because she realizes that she isn't who she wants to be. As Sarah embarks on her year long journey of transformation, she is about to find out what true happiness and success are all about, and that over time goals don't always stay the same, and that her vision of a perfect life may not be so easy to accomplish.

In her debut novel, author Laura Kilmartin weaves an entertaining tale of one woman's year long journey of transforming her life into one that she perceives as perfection. Written in the first person narrative and set in Portland, Maine, the reader follows Sarah's journey on a month by month basis, with various encounters that come her way as she tries to complete each goal on her list. Everyone can relate to Sarah's vision, ideals and list of goals that she wanted to accomplish. I think everyone at one time or another has visions of what they want their life to be like, and has goals that they want to accomplish. Sarah's journey is filled with laughter, tears, heartache and crazy situations that culminates in her coming to the realization that life has a funny way of changing a person's vision of the perfect life, of what really matters most in life, and what true happiness is really all about.

With a cast of characters who are realistic and believable; engaging dialogue and quirky interactions; and a storyline that is easy to relate to, Next Year I'll be Perfect is a wonderful portrayal of a young woman learning to find her way in life while challenging society's ideals and expectations.



  1. Replies
    1. I loved Laura's choices too! Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.